Sunday, October 24, 2010
Brent and Ivonne outside of Andres.
The last time we were at Andres, we went to the plaza. Now that competition is over, we've arrived at the main restaurant: Andres D.C. Billed as both restaurante and bailadero, all of your fantasies of flesh can be reality with Andres. Start off with drinks and hunks of meat, dance a little and maybe take some meat home with you - if you're lucky...
It's our final outing as the group of International Judges Who Have Come To Judge The Colombian Barista Championship. Luis Fernando has been a wonderful and gracious host to all of us and we're here celebrating the end of a great week with not only Luis Fernando, his wife Ana Julia but also with the newly crowned Colombian Barista Champion, Lina Zea.
After judging her in both the preliminary round and in the finals, there is no doubt that Ms. Zea deserves to hold the title. She was smooth, calm, collected and executed brilliantly. If she keeps it up and works on her routine, she could be a contender for the WBC title in June.
2008 World Barista Champion Stephen Morrissey and Ian Clark.
And while we're happy to celebrate with Ms. Zea, we're also happy to eat meat (at least all of us except for Scott). The one thing about Andres is that meat is not in short supply. Whatever meat you desire, they've got it in spades. First come the drinks.
When one thinks of margaritas, one thinks of dainty Mexican style drinks, not these Vesuvius monstrosities that have landed on our table. The margaritas (and other alcoholic beverages) here are massive. 32 ounce goblets of flavored tequila designed to rock the party all night long. I order two.
Scott doing I don't know what.
Next come the appetizers, an assortment of fruits, nuts, fried pork rinds and other goodies to whet the appetite for the meat to come. It's a virtual cacophony of flavors enticing you to love, laugh and dance your way through the evening.
About now, a pseudo mariachi band of sorts makes their way to our table to sing and dance with Ms. Zea in celebration of her victory. Crepe paper butterflies explode over tables as drums, stringed instruments and bellowing singing penetrate the soul.
Our server Vivian checks in on us.
In short time, the plate of meat arrives and again, it's massive. Bloody red and juicy hunks of beef topped with bacon are ready for consumption. Think the meat is too rare? No worries, they've got a sizzling plate of steel on hand to cook your meat further. Add sides of potatoes, salad, tomatoes and more and it's simply too much food to consume in one sitting.
It's practically too much food for a village.
The meat is tasty and rich - and I opt for the bloody, with just a bit of salt - and a helping of bacon. Bacon on beef, this is decadence I can relate to.
We're drinking. We're partying. We're eating. We're getting rowdy. I want to dance. I want to sing karaoke. I contemplate a third margarita but realize that might be irresponsible. I desire to be irresponsible.
It's time for dessert but it's also getting late. Tomorrow is the start of the World Barista Championship Judges Certification Class and we're supposed to be in top shape for that class. I still want to sing karaoke. Everyone wants dessert.
And we wait for dessert. And wait. And wait. It's getting late and some are getting itchy to go home. Our driver is summoned. A bet is made. Which will arrive first? Don Juan (our driver and ride home) or our chocolate volcano dessert? I drop five thousand bucks on dessert. And we wait.
Finally, the dessert arrives and Don Juan is nowhere in sight. I pocket ten thousand bucks (and some silly Brazilian money that Danilo tossed into the pot) and feel like Daddy Warbucks.
Fried Plantain Cakes with Cheese and Tomato Sauce.
Later, as Don Juan drops us off at our hotel, the night has been a blur but one filled with friends, drink and lots of good food.
World Barista Champion Stephen Morrissey drinks!
Ivonne's very large mojito in a coconut shell.
Brent receives his margarita.
Boys In The Bib.
The Carne de Res (and bacon).
Our group of intrepid coffee professionals.
Brent on camera.
Brent in real life.
Dessert and my booty for winning the bet: which would arrive first? Our dessert or our driver.
Paola was so good at keeping the judges room in order, Scott and I both offered her jobs if she ever decided to come to the United States.
Our team of volunteers. Great work guys!
Scott and Brent await the beginning of the finals.
Brent and his cookies.
The Championship trophy.
The six finalists await their fate.
Oh la la...Camila!
Ivonne doing something.
Jose in his element - in front of a crowd.
And his co-host. She just had a baby. Go figure!
The volunteers who handled station maintenance.
Our judges. And Camila.
Everyone wants a picture with the champion.
The Champion Lina Zea and us...
Blanca Bernal discusses her scoresheets.
The lovely ladies who kept score.
Two of my favorite Colombianas: Camila and Diana.
Laura and Natalia with the boys.
There really was an Ian Clark Fan Club...
One last shot with our team.